Hello people, how are you? I am very excited that I have been able to cut a deal with Health Service Discounts and am able to offer all NHS workers a flat 15% off everything on Caprilicious. The company also has other websites with discounts for teachers, carers, and charity workers and Caprilicious is on all of these.
So, while all this was brewing and emails flying back and forth, I sat down every evening, sewing beads around a beautiful, large ammonite. The back of the ammonite was not smooth - I think it was really meant as a showpiece as it came with a little easel, but I didn't let that stop me - a You Tube tutorial showed me how to pack felt under it and faux suede around the edges to make the back flat, and off I went. I like to learn new techniques and tricks each time I create. Making the same thing over and over again doesn't interest me at all, I think that's what I love about artisanal jewellery - there are so many techniques involved, one can spend a lifetime learning them.
This has been an unseasonably warm November and the garden is still going - my little Marguerites are actually budding and flowering, as is the Acanthus Mollis or Bear's Breeches - I love that name and looked everywhere for the origin but couldn't find it. What I found out was that the distinctive shape of the foliage has adorned Corinthian columns since the 18th century. Those leaves are certainly beautiful.
That's me for this week, folks. Stay warm and have a great week, and I'll catch you soon,
Hello people, how are you today? Caprilicious is eleven years old this week! You have all helped me to enjoy myself for eleven whole years, and I am very grateful. To my followers on Facebook and Instagram, and to those who follow my blog - some openly and the others lurking in the background, pretending not to exist - I know you are out there, and yes, I thank you to you too.
When I first started to make jewellery, one of my friends asked whether it was going to be a passing fancy, or I was being serious about jewellery making - at that time, I had no idea that I would spend so many fun years researching, buying, designing, making, marketing and selling jewellery - I'd have been shocked if I had known it, myself. I've taken on extra responsibilities at work and have been spreading myself pretty thin - but however tired I am, it is so nice to change out of my street clothes and sit down with a project in my hands and eventually have a finished object to photograph and love. It certainly helps me to enjoy my downtime, and it is so satisfying when I wear something I've made myself and get compliments for it.
I spent this week beading a bezel around a rather large ammonite fossil - it was an exercise in patience to bead around it mainly because it is about 3.5" in diameter and the back is irregular. I had to find a way to pad the back with felt and other materials to stabilise it so that it didn't rock about in the bezel I created. Now I have to decide what I'm going to do with it - I have some ideas, which I will share with you next week.
For Caprilicious' eleventh birthday, I have decided to treat my tribe of key workers to a discount. I have been negotiating with Health Services Discounts to put an offer on their pages - they also have separate sites for ambulance workers, teachers, and care workers, so Caprilicious will reach a whole load of people if I can pull this off - stay tuned on this one.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place,
Hello everyone, it's lovely to chat to you again after a busy week. I was invited out to lunch last weekend and was able to wear the Kandinsky necklace - I must say it felt really good and I got a number of compliments. I realise that it looks much larger and more intimidating until it is worn - and then, it just feels like a piece of fun around your neck. Just right for a dull November evening and a simple outfit.
I received a strand of faux turquoise teardrops in the post and wanted to use them straight away. I've tried to control the bead buying sprees I used to go on and consequently only pick up componenets that I fall in love with at first sight. Once I have them in my hot little hands however, I can't control the urge to use them straight away. The amethyst I used in the necklace are light in colour, but they are plump and juicy cylinders that have been gently faceted to reflect the light wonderfully. The combination of turquoise and amethyst is classic and beautiful.
Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat - that is if it hasn't been affected by Avian flu. I'm not celebrating this year, but for those of you who are, remeber that Caprilicious offers a free service - I will pack and send your gifts out for you if you message me. I'll even include a card from you and any message you care to send.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello everyone, how are you today? The sun is shining as I type this, and I actually feel like going out - I've spent the last couple of weeks holed up in the house, not doing anything more strenuous than picking through old photographs I collected from my mother's cupboards and remembering old times. Fortunately, I was able to get a couple of weeks off work, thanks to my colleagues and a sympathetic GP, and now it's time to pull myself together and go back on Monday.
In the meantime, I sat in front of the TV and vegged out. Eventually, I picked up the piece of bead embroidery I was working on and decided it was time to put the finishing touches to it.
The piece is heavily influenced by this print of Kandinsky's 'Spitzen im Bogen' or 'Points in the Curve' that hangs on a wall in my living room.
I've often stared at it, wondering how I could use it in a piece of jewellery, when it occurred to me to turn it on it's side and convert it into a necklace.
The pendant can be brought closer to the neck by removing a couple of links in the chain which is very easy to do. The dichroic glass cabochon glows like the centre of a flame, and there are many varied elements in the piece - a dyed howlite donut, rose quartz, dichroic glass, Swarovski crystal rivolis, an amethyst coloured rectangular crystal, and a multitude of Czech and Japanese seed beads. Trying to match Kandinskys sense of colour was going to be impossible, so I just went with my own. I think that's colourful enough, don't you? The pendant back was padded out with felt and covered over with Ultrasuede in a bright pink, to be just as vibrant as the front.
I took photographs of the piece every night before I put my beading tray away and will leave you with a video made from these images.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello everyone, I'm truly glad to be with you today. I'm sorry I've been out of action for a while. A few days after I wrote my last post, I was summoned to India to my mother's bedside as she was gravely ill. After a short illness, she sadly passed away and I have had a lot to deal with, both settling her affairs and the thoughts swirling around in my head. She was well past 90 and had led a wonderful and varied life. A role model to many, including me, she wasn't sorry to die, especially as her physical abilities had begun to desert her. We will all miss her dearly. This photograph was taken on her 90th birthday.
I made Ma Jolie before I was required to rush to India - the beautiful Picasso jasper tooth shaped slab nuggets had just arrived and I was keen to use them. When I sent for them, I intended to make a simple monochrome necklace, but the Caprilicious colour ethic is so strong that I couldn't resist putting in little pops of colour with random splashes of red coral and turquoise. Once that was done, it still didn't look like a Caprilicious piece, so I added a large chunk of bamboo coral to one side, and Wham! Ma Jolie was born in true Caprilicious mode.
The real Ma Jolie was Marcelle Humbert, Picasso's mistress who he painted in his strange Analytic Cubist style in monochrome. I'm afraid I don't subscribe to this depiction of a female body, but it is certainly interesting to look at.
I would have added a red dot somewhere, but that's why I'm not Picasso, an internationally reknowned artist, but merely an artisan jewellery maker from Nuneaton! I guess I could also be called a philistine, because try as I might, I cannot see a beautiful woman in all those straight lines.
You can read a bit more about this picture here.
Picasso jasper, also sometimes called Picasso stone, is actually a metamorphic limestone and not a jasper at all. The beautiful layers and colors of Picasso jasper results from heat and pressure within the Earth. The lined patterns in this stone are formed by iron oxides.
Picasso jasper is said to make an excellent meditation stone. Some people value it for its ability to renew lost friendships or to help guide during relationship transitions. This stone is said to promote inner clarity and interpretation of one's own thoughts. Named after the painter Pablo Picasso, it comes from the state of Utah in the United States. It has an abstract, modernistic look with its wide streaks of black, grey and white, and occasionally a brownish red.
Consequently, the necklace has a modernistic look - the jasper beads are in a matte monochrome, with what looks like a child (or Picasso) has scribbled on them with a felt-tipped pen.
I got my mother's grandchildren to hold her hand in the hospital where she was admitted and took this last photograph. I've always loved this song by Bill Withers - Grandmas Hands - and I hope you enjoy it too.
That's all I have for you, folks. I was embroidering a pendant when I dropped everything to go to India and it will be ready to show you in the next installment. Have a good week, and hopefully I'll be able to catch up with you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, I'm happy to meet up with you again after a short break. I have been kept busy by the organisation of a memorial service at the chapel in the hospital, as a lot of people couldn't get to my friends funeral, it being a working day. For some reason it has fallen to me to organise it - invitations have been sent out and the hospital Chaplain has been ever so helpful.
We were meant to be in Amsterdam this weekend, but one look at the queues in Schiphol airport, which at the moment are about 5 miles long to get through security, convinced me that this was simply not the time to go. Hubby fell ill as well, and we managed to get a refund from the hotel and a voucher from the airline. Unfortunately, I couldn't cancel my annual leave at work as all my clinical committments have been cancelled and can't be reinstated. Perhaps that's just as well - I need a bit of a break and recharge.
I thought I'd show you a picture of one of the last flowers in the garden - this is a Mediterranean plant with large spiny leaves and a tall spike of flowers called Bear's Britches.
I started a half thought out piece of beaded embroidery - this is inspired by a Kandinsky print I have on my wall - I'm only able to block in a little bit at a time, so it may be a while before it is finished. I shall take pictures as I go, to track the making of this pendant.
I'm excited to see how this one will evolve - one thing's for sure, it will be extremely colourful.
I bought a hank of whisper pink crystal beads when I was in Prague - although pink is not a colour I usually go with, I couldn't resist the beauty of a fistful of these lovelies. Looked at singly, the pink fades to almost clear glass, but in a multi strand necklace, they are delectably pink.
Once I brought them home, however, it was another story - I didn't know what to do with them, so they remained in their box, waiting for me to find inspiration. I was idly browsing through some beads on the internet and these pretty faux-stone pink beads took my fancy. I put the two together and the resulting piece reminded me of cotton candy, the spun sugar sweet on a stick that I was treated to as a child at the annual school fete.
I even found pink beading wire as the usual grey or silver wire running through the crystals would have muddied the pink. The box clasp is set with a shiny black agate and can be worn to one side as well as the back. I felt the black added a bit of gravitas to what would otherwise be a very girly necklace.
With this one, I had to admit defeat - no photograph can ever express the beauty of the crystals as they shimmer in the light.
That's me for this week, folks. I'll probably be back in a couple of weeks once the memorial service is done and dusted. Have a wonderful week and savour the last weeks of summer, before the oncoming autumn. Catch you soon,
Hello folks, I'm glad you're joining me today on the blog. I've been extremely busy at work and it's been a while since I've been able to get to you. However, I have been doing some work with Caprilicious everyday - one tiny bit at a time.
The beautiful gemstone in todays piece is a slice of an amethyst geode - the edges were irregular and it took ages to weave a bezel around it to hold it securely. The addition of a purple teardrop shaped crystal turned it into a substantial piece. Once I'd put a bezel around both of the main elements, I thought for a while about how I was going to use them. My inspiration came from the centre of the geode - deep at it's heart is a nucleus from which it appears as if there is an explosion, with matter shooting outwards from the grey/white core.
The initial plan was to sew 'petals' around it but as I went on, it became clear that this was no flower - instead, it was an explosion, a joyous riot of some kind. As I was looking for colourful beads, I found the necklace which I'd had for ages and took further inspiration from the colours in the seed beads of the necklace. I was thirsty for colour and joy, and soon the pendant evolved into its present form - a rainbow supernova!
A supernova is the biggest explosion that humans have ever seen. Each blast is the extremely bright, super-powerful explosion of a star. One type of supernova is caused by the “last hurrah” of a dying massive star. This happens when a star at least five times the mass of the sun goes out with a fantastic bang!
Massive stars burn huge amounts of nuclear fuel at their cores. This produces tons of energy, so the centre gets very hot. Heat generates pressure, and the pressure created by a star’s nuclear burning also keeps that star from collapsing. The nuclear fuel burning in the star’s core creates strong outward pressure. Eventually the star runs out of fuel, it cools off, and a very dense core is left behind, along with an expanding cloud of hot gas called a nebula.
I'm working this weekend, but I had just a few beads to sew on before I could declare the piece finished. I raced back home from the hospital as soon as I could and put them in so I could take these pictures before the natural light died on me - there's nothing as fabulous as the feeling I get when the last bead goes in and I hand the finished necklace to hubby for his verdict. I wasn't disappointed with his reaction to this one! I hope you like it too. Once Mike inspected it, ensuring 'quality control' I decided that the bail was too plain compared to the main body of the piece, so I went the extra mile and embellished it with fuchsia pink crystals and finally, I was satisfied. Three little pink crystals were enough to bring on the warm, fuzzy feeling that signifies 'The End'.
Have a wonderful week, people, and I'll catch you as soon as possible - I'm off to a funeral next week, and I don't think I'll be in the mindspace to create anything.
Anyway, after such a major project I seem to run out of inspiration for a while until, Hey Presto!, an idea jumps into my mind and I just have to put it into action.
I'll be back soon,
Hello folks, hope the Bank Holiday weekend finds you well and out and about, having yourselves a load of fun. I am working tomorrow so that's taken a bit of the shine off of it, but equally, I'm not in the mood for a good time just now, so it's OK by me to have to work the blues away.
I've been making a necklace with a number of bezelled elements, and every evening, I sit in front of the TV after work and sew tiny beads onto a felt backing. The piece isn't ready yet and I'll probably carry on sewing well into the next couple of weeks before I have anything to show for all the effort that's going into the piece.
In the meantime, I have a little necklace that is very pretty and very versatile for you today. Kiara was made to carry a little mandala pendant that is set with abalone, turquoise, amethyst, garnets and carnelian. The amethyst beads have a matte finish and have been spaced with turquoise and electroplated ceramic square beads.
I think this one is very versatile, it can not only quite easily be worn to the office, but will easily go to dinner of an evening and bring in the compliments. The turquoise beads lift the colour quotient and echo the blues in the pendant.
That's me for today folks. I hope you have a wonderful week and I'll catch you next Friday/Saturday, same time, same place.
Hello everyone, hope you're all well and getting ready for the weekend. I'm told the weather is going to be warm and sunny - I've been holed up in the house for most of the week and it will be good to get out and about. The cat is certainly enjoying himself, although he sometimes gets it wrong and gets caught in a downpour. He then comes to us to be wiped down with a special towel we save just for that purpose.
This week, I made a little necklace for a hummingbird pendant I've had for a while. I always knew I would pair it with garnets, and I added some colourful and contrasting beads to pick up the colours in the beautiful bird. The pendant is three-dimensional, and the maker has taken the trouble to add the little cubic zirconia on both sides, as well as on the back of the bird, between the wings. This is not a place that is readily visible, and need not have been embellished. I always love it when people go the extra mile which is what makes this pendant extra special.
I had a couple of hand made beaded elements in my collection - I made them ages ago and hung on to them for just such a special occasion - they are made with pearls, smoky quartz and little red and silver seed beads, and I used them to flank the pendant. They lift the necklace immensely in my opinion, as they are bright and shiny - using just the garnets didn't work for me for some reason - the necklace looked too dark. I also added colourful gemstone beads at regular intervals to co-ordinate with the pendant.
I love hummingbirds - they are among smallest of all birds. They’re incredibly aerobatic and can fly up, down, backward, they can change direction in an instant and effortlessly shift from full speed to practically standing still in the blink of an eye. This is in part because of how light-weight they are, with some hummingbirds weighing no more than a penny! It symbolises a lightness of being and an enjoyment of life in Native American cultures - and who couldn't use a bit of that?
I found a picture of a necklace I made earlier, many years ago called Hummingbirds Haven - this one lives with a lovely lady in Warwickshire.
That's me for this week, folks. have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place.
Hi all, how are you this fine weekend? In the UK we aren't used to this constant barrage of sunshine and are exhausted, hot, sweaty and tetchy. I've made nothing over the week.
I started a piece of embroidered jewellery but hated it - the tension of the piece was all wrong so I cut it up and retrieved the beads.
And all the while a very close friend of mine was very ill and needed care and attention as she has Stage 4 breast cancer - my mind wandered as jewellery making is a joyful occupation and there isn't much joy in my heart at the moment.
The reason why I'm mentioning her on a jewellery blog, is because she was sort of reponsible for me trying jewellery making for myself. Suzy went to a necklace making class in a local bead shop with a friend of hers and made a few pieces which she gave away as gifts. I received a couple of those and one of them impressed me so much I decided I should try it too - why not take a couple of classes myself? So, with the help of Google, I located a semi professional class in Leamington Spa College, where there were too many students and a silver ring to be made. A saw was shoved into my hands unceremoniously to get on with - a number of broken saw blades later, I decided that it wasn't for me! It was winter, the nights were closing in and I had to drive for about 45 minute after a long day at work to get to the class to have absolutely nothing to show for it. Not for me, so I found another class in Kegworth - and here we are today, 12 years down the line.
She gifted me a wire-work arm band, which could also be used as a choker and I was instantly smitten. I took a wire work class and haven't looked back since. I took the armband in to the class and asked the teacher how it was made and to my surprise she was a bit sneery about it - while I now understand why, as it was a simple technique and the lady was teaching an advanced wire work class, I thought that it was such an unprofessional response. One should never sneer at another person's efforts, in my book. I still have the piece and wear it on and off, to this day.
We've known each other since 1992 when Suzy was my house officer and we followed each other around the West Midlands junior doctors rotation. When there was a consultant post going at the George Eliot Hospital, I encouraged her to apply and she was interviewed for the post on 9/11 - when we came out of the interview the planes had crashed into the Twin Towers!
She set about managing our labour ward, writing guidelines and shaking the place into shape and we are indebted to her. She came back to work after her first surgery - she managed all her chemotherapy and radiotherapy on her own due to the Covid pandemic. Those of us who visited her did so from a safe distance, anxious that as hospital workers we might be the carrier of the dreaded virus. I occasionally took food in for her and left it under her car, to be picked up and eaten after a couple of hours when we were sure that there wasn't a live virus sitting on the box. She was prepared to come back into work full time when the crab struck again and she was diagnosed with Stage 4 disease.
Suzy went into neutropaenic sepsis and multi organ failure last week and is now on ITU, surrounded by her family. She decided against dialysis and was made comfortable so that her friends and family could say their goodbyes. I went early yesterday, before her family arrived, and had a chat with her - I'm looking after her beloved cat until other provision is made by her family, so we chatted away as if it was just another day until she began to talk about her funeral arrangements. She wants everyone in colour, in purple if possible. I don't really wear purple, but shall wear an amethyst necklace in tribute. She is now in a semi - coma and apparently is doing ward rounds in her sleep - well, she was so good at her job as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist that she could probably do it in her sleep. I will miss her dearly for all manner of reasons.
When I got home, she had organised a bunch of flowers to be delivered, from her bed on ITU, as a thank you for looking after her cat. She was a determined shopaholic and had a few pieces of Caprilicious as well, but this adds a completely new dimension to the phrase 'shop until you drop'. We are likely to lose her sometime this weekend, and my heart is filled with dread, the thought that I will never see her again fills me with pain.
She is a brave sister soul. I care deeply for her as she did for me.
Here are a few pictures of our years together. One of them is from a holiday in Iceland - we went whale watching and I remember how she lurched from side to side on the small boat, trying to obtain the best view of the whale to get pictures, and was in danger of capsizing the boat or going overboard that I feared for her life, and ours, at the time.
Have a good weekend, folks. It's going to rain next week and we will look back on this glorious sunshine wistfully - always longing for something we don't have without enjoying it when we actually have it. I'll catch up with you next week